Having fresh eyes on a bible passage

About a month ago, I received this comment about my talk posts:

Her interpretation of the Bible stories is usually from a very different perspective from mine….makes me think!

After recently blogging about the process of teaching being a process of learning for both the child and the leader, you can imagine I took this as a huge compliment.

I firmly believe that Christian parents should be reading the well known stories of the bible to their children, that the teaching time should be additional to that. In that light I often strive to see different twists on the stories as a way of diving deeper into what may already be familiar.

However old or new the passage is to me, I always start with these 3 : perspective, history, and application.

Fresh eyes

The bible gives us lots of room to move our viewpoint. It’s often useful to identify all the characters, who is speaking, who is on the sidelines. Could the story be told with a different voice? When you look at David and Goliath from the philistine camp it looks very different, the character of David pales before the might of God. Imagine telling the story of Jesus’s temptation from the view of the sand dunes or perhaps an angel taking watch in Heaven. Also, speaking from a different time frame allows us to show outcomes of actions rather than leave the story hanging outside of the big bible narrative, many of these stories came by oral tradition.

Historical study on a basic level makes a big difference. Social history can place a story and inform you of the important factors through the witnesses eyes. Where in time was the story placed? What the clothes, food, and social rules were, can shape the events? Fishermen were amongst the hardest hit by the tax collectors in gospel times and the Sabbath rules make Jesus’s actions even more scandalous. Also go wide on the personal history of the characters, the other times they appear in scripture. Their past and future, shape how we see the actions in a given story. Mordecai was a descendant of Saul who had fought the Malachites, Haman’s people, the story is an important echo of events.

Often we choose the controlling action in a story in a bid to get the children to, or not to, repeat it. Acts of the bible aren’t always repeatable, but the emotions and motivations often are. I had always taught John the baptist linked to baptism, but on JWL I linked it to humility. Here was the great newspapers Elijah so humble that he wouldn’t dare to untie the sandal of Jesus. I’ve never baptised anyone, but I can show humility. Equally, the negatives aspects can also be positive. Saul’s blindness was a gift, for his eyes opened in more ways than one. Examining the ways of worship, and discoveries made can also lead to a huge array of applications that can move passages from the dry page and into everyday action.



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